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The Personality of Hahnemann.' 



I am not sure that the title given to my address is suffi- 
ciently distinctive, or sufficiently comprehensive, or if it be only 
suggestive. But I do know that if we think of Hahnemann at 
all, his personality must occupy a great share of our attention, 
for it is a most prominent feature of his life and work. 

Have you ever noticed how few of our friends and acquaint- 
ances have any distinct personality? Take away from neighbor 
A his wealth, from B his social rank, from C his wife's relations, 
from D his political influence in the corner grocery, from E his 
tailor's skill, and what is left? What remains behind all the ac- 
cessories of social circumstances by which ve will remember him 
when death strips off the perishable garb in which Time dresses 
men ? But Hahnemann had such a distinct personality, — shining 
out, clearly defined, so that we see the man himself, not in his 
time dress, but in his eternal character ; a personality so marked 
that we realize at a glance how lasting the impression such an 
one must make on his contemporaries — and on posterity — no 
matter what branch of science he studied, or what calling he 
pursued. There have been, and there are to-day, men of this 
kind ; but at the time in which Hahnemann appeared just such 
an one was needed in the field of medicine. It was a period of 
ignorance, doubt and confusion. Systems of medicine, so called, 
there were in abundance. Stoll in Germany (i 742-1 788) had 
popularized an evacuant method, founded on the theory that 
most diseases were due to gastric impurities ; and Kampf at the 
same time carried this idea to its logical conclusion, and for all 

*Delivered before the Hahnemann Society of the HonuKopathic Hospital 
College, February 4th, 1892. 

— 1 — 



diseases had one remedy — the clyster — to be administered daily 
for months if necessary, some of his patients having taken over 
5,000 injections before they finally recovered. Brown had man\ 
followers who placed implicit confidence in the theory of irrita- 
bility, classifying all diseases into the sthenic and the asthenic, 
and prescribing depleting or stimulating remedies as the case 
might require. Shelling and his friends adopted a theory of what 
they termed " natural philosophy," describing the processes of 
health and disease in language more learned than intelligible, \et 
claiming for their theory, in the words of Stefnus, that it '' has 
the priority of knowledge, for it is the knowledge of knowledge, 
and must be regarded as potentized knowledge." Then there 
were the advocates of chemical treatment, who found the sources 
of all physical ills in the disturbance of chemical processes, and 
their treatment in the application of chemical compoimds. Some 
physicians adopted a theory, and clung to it, despite all conse- 
quences, as tenaciously as the immortal Dr. Sangrado before 
them. A greater number changed from one theory to another, 
and ran the ganmt of all methods. They certainly had a large 
variety to select from in each case. Hahnemann himself in his 
paper on " The present want of Foreign Medicines" (see Lesser 
Writings), attempted to catalogue the various plans which oflfered 
themselves to the physician : " The method of treating diseases 
by scouring out the stomach and bowels; the method of treat- 
ment which aims its medicinal darts at imaginary acridities and 
impurities in the blood, and other humors, at cancerous, rachitic, 
scrofulous, gouty, herpetic, and scorbutic acridities ; the method 
of treatment that presupposes in most diseases a species of fun- 
damental morbid action, such as dentition, or derangement of the 
biliary system, or hemorrhoids, or infarctus, or obstruction of the 
mesenteric glands, or worms, and directs the treatment against 
these; the method which imagines it has always to do with debil- 
ity, and conceives it is bound to stimulate, and re-stimulate 
(which they call strengthen), the method which regards the dis- 
eased body as a mere chemically decomposed mass, which must 
be restored to the proper chemical condition by chemical anti- 
dotes — nitrogenous, oxygenous, hydrogenous; another method 
that supposes diseases to have no other originating cause but mu- 
cosities; another that sees only the inspissation of the juices ; 
and yet another that thinks it has only to combat putridity," and 

— 2 — 



•so on. Others amalgamated all methods, as Piichelt, writinji^ in 
Hnfeland's Journal, some years later (1S19) : "We live now," he 
savs, " in a time in which most svsteir.s are blended and united. 
The mechanical and chemical views of the organism have united, 
and are subordinated to, or collocated with, the dynamico-vital 
view. The humoral and solidary theories are amalgamated, and 
have resolved themselves into the idea of the reciprocal action of 
the solid and fluid portions of the organism. The evacuating 
and stimulating, depleting and fortifying, and many other con- 
flicting methods of treatment, dwell peacefully side by side in 
general therapeutics, and mutually limit one another. All are 
used by our contemporaries in xarious diseases, though one may 
prefer one method — another, another." 

Let Hahnemann himself describe the medical science of his 
day, as it appeared to him after he had investigated it from Alpha 
to Omega: " An elaborate house of cards; a thing altogether op- 
. posed to nature and experience ; a tissue of guesses and assump- 
tions ; a mere nullity ; a pitiful self-delusion ; •■' '•' * which 
labors under the curse of not being what it pretends to be — un- 
able to do what it promi.ses to do." 

More than two thousand years had passed since the days of 
Hippocrates, the F'ather of Medicine, and the medical generation 
of the twentieth century was no wiser than that of the first. Some 
of the ablest and best of men in every age had been engaged in 
practicing medicine and in teaching medicine. To it had been 
given the talents of the wise ; the gold of the wealthy ; the pa- 
tronage of the powerful. But while there had been motion and 
commotion, there had been no progress. And if the great physi- 
cian of Cos could have been re-incarnated in Vienna or Leipsic, 
in London or Paris, in the days of which we speak, he would 
have been a better physician than any of his descendants, with 
the experience of twenty centuries at their command. What 
was the cause of this barrenne.ss ? It may with justice, I think, 
be attributed largely to the influence of that philosophy which 
dominated all intellectual life from the days when Socrates talked 
and Plato wrote, all down the ages until Bacon pointed out a bet- 
ter way, and led into more fruitful fields — a philosophy which, it 
has been epigrammatically said, " disdained to be useful and was 
content to be stationary." It was a philosophy which exploited 
in words, but was barren in deeds. A philosophy of dialectics, 

— 3 — 



whose weapons were syllogisms, whose battlefield was the acad- 
emy, whereon victories were won in ver1)ose disputations which 
commenced anew as soon as the\ were ended. A philosophy of 
the treadmill, soi"& round and round, but never forward. The 
philosophy of Tartarus, wherein weary Sissyphus ever rolls the 
same recoiling stone, and thirsty Tantalus clutches in vain at the 
receding clusters. This philosophy dominated all science, and 
permeated all intellectual life, until Bacon taught a philosophy- 
of utility and of progress. It influenced and controlled the teach- 
ers of medicine as of all other branches of learning ; and it need 
be no matter of surprise that all movement in medicine was by 
way of the treadmill, and not by way of the straight road that 
leads to some definite goal. And with all the diversities of med- 
ical belief and medical practice, the system of medical ethics cor- 
responded. " A savage partisan spirit," says a writer, (Professor 
Roose, in 1803; Harris' Archiv. Med., Erf, III. p. i) " has taken 
possession of many minds, and seems to be spreading universally. 
Physicians split into sects, every one. of which embitters the 
other by violent and often unfounded contradictions. Dogmatisni 
and a persecuting spirit are becoming common among physicians, 
and are only distinguished from the dogmatism and persecution 
of enraged religious sects in former times by being fortunately 
powerless to arm the secular authorities with fire and sword 
against their adversaries." 

So intensely ignorant were the bulk of medical practition- 
ers, that they failed to realize their ignorance — having reached 
that lowest moral plane whereon stands the man who does not 
know, — and does not know that he does not know. Here and 
there one had mounted a little higher, and had his eyes suffi- 
ciently opened to recognize darkness, like Girtanner,* who de- 
clared that " as the healing art has no fixed principles, as nothing 
is demonstrated clearly in it, every physician has the right to 
follow his own opinions. When there is no question of real 
knowledge, where every one is only guessing, one opinion is as 
good as another. In the dense Egyptian darkness of ignorance 
in which physicians are groping their way, not even the faintest 
ray of light has penetrated, by means of which they can see their 

*Ausfuhrliche Darstellung des Brdwnishen System. Gottingen, 1798. 
11. pp. 608, 610. 

— 4 — 



course." A century has passed since Girtanner wrote, and you 
will find not a few physicians of the Old School who are not yet 
out of the slough of medical agnosticism. Just imagine your- 
selves back on the earth in one of its earlier stages of develop- 
ment viewing the forms of life from the shores of a palae/oic sea. 
See what a variety of oulre shapes I There is a sponge-like crea- 
tiire, whose whole existence is spent in alternate sucking-in and 
squirting-out; and there the rotifer swings around on its own 
axis, always pursuing and never overtaking. The mollusk crawls 
slowly over its sandy bed, tentatively projecting itself from its 
shell, but at the approach of an^'thing novel quickly retreating 
under its calcareous roof, while his little neighbor, the octapod 
cuttle-fish, as promptly hides itself in the darkness of its own se- 
cretions. The zoophyte seems to float on the surface ; but though 
it moves with every undulation of the water, yet its roots cling 
to the sea-bed, and there is always motion but no progress. Over 
the land crawl saurian forms, while semi-erect mammalia bend 
towards the earth, yet turn their faces upward at times, as though 
their eyes would catch gleams of more light than the earth re- 
flects. Then, at once, almost with the suddenness of a new cre- 
ation, if such a thing were possilile, a fully developed vertebrated 
being appears, standing erect, and capable of no other posture, be- 
cause it is fashioned and framed to stand and move in that way, 
and in no other. Such was the advent of Hahnemann in the 
world of medical science. 

During the last century there lived a porcelain painter by the 
name of Hahnemann in the little town of Meissen, in Saxony. 
Not a very notable man in any way; industrious, intelligent, 
honest, I should think, but certainly not a rich man, nor one of 
any special rank in his community. To this man and his wife 
came their first-born on the loth April, 1755, to whom they gave 
the name Samuel Christian Frederick, — to be known in after 
years as Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the originator of the great re- 
form in medicine. 

Of the childhood of Hahnemann record tells but little, and 
that little of no consequence. Not many great men were great 
in their boyhood. In their school days they might show signs of 
the coming greatness, show it not so much in any wonderful 
works they might perform, as in those indications of character 
which in after times achieve greatness. Energetic it may be 



truthfully said was Hahneinann in his school class, else had he 
not persisted in spite of domestic difficulties and lack of pecuni- 
ary means to pursue his studies. And if he gave signs therein 
of his coming greatness, it was only as the industrious school 
boy, eager to actiuire knowledge and to cultivate his talents, 
gives unmistakable evidence of an intelligent perseverance that 
is fruitful of great things. Doubtless he was a school boy who 
was not content with memorizing by rote, and learning his allot- 
ted task and no more. But a boy whose books were not clo.sed 
when school hours were over ; who preferred to get a little u:ore 
of his lesson rather than a little less ; a boy who was not satisfied 
with memorizing simply, but who wanted to know the why and 
the wherefore of that which he learned. Many a time he must 
have questioned and questioned again his teachers, almost wears - 
ing them it may be with his pertinacity ; and \et delighting them 
as teachers are always delighted with earnest scholars. And they 
showed their appreciation of his industry; for while his father, 
unable to provide the means to continue his education, would 
have taken him away from school, and apprenticed him to his 
own trade, the teachers prevented it by remitting his fees during 
the last eight years of his school life, and by utilizing his .ser- 
vices, thus giving him the opportunity his father's circumstances 
would not allow. At the age of 12 he was employed in teaching 
classics, so that his long life of labor continued from the age of 
12 to that of 88 ; for he was in active service up to a few weeks 
from the date of his death — 76 years of work. 

In 1775 Hahnemann finished his preliminary course at 
school and entered upon the study of medicine in Leipsic. His 
father gave him his blessing and thirty thalers, the last money he 
ever received from that source. Henceforth he had to fight his 
own battle ; and he fought it — at Leipsic, at Vienna, and at Er- 
langen, where he graduated in 1779. His student life was not one 
of pleasure and amusement. We never hear of his being out 
with the boys all night — painting the town red, as is the custom 
of students in all ages. There was no drinking, no dicing, no 
duelling for him. There could not be; he had neither money to 
purchase, nor time to sow any wild oats. All his spare moments 
were given to work which could provide an income, teaching and 
translating. His professors, like the teachers of his earlier days, 
remitted their fees to the earnest student, whose energy and in- 

— (> — 



telligcncc ^avc sucli j)r()niise for the future. While at \ieuna. 
Von Ouarin, the emperor's physician, became his special friend 
and patron, and secured for him the position of librarian and resi- 
dent physician to the j^overnor of Transylvania, and thus he was 
enabled to secure the means of supportinjj; himself and pursuiuj.;^ 
his studies 'v\ medicine and chemistry. A hard life, you will say, 
for the younjj^ student, but a successful one, in that he attained 
wisdom and experience, which for one in his circumstances could 
be obtained no other way. A lesson here of encouraj^ement and 
warning to the student of all times. Money and comfortable 
surroundino^s are good things to have ; but povert> is the fire- 
that tries the gold. In this age, and on this continent, more than 
in any other time or place, the ambitious young man can lift him- 
self out of his circumstances and can attair all the education 
which money and rank can procure. But he must work and not 
waste the golden days of opportunity in idleness and dissipation. 
The di.sciple of Minerva cannot enter the service of Venus or of 
Bacchus. By his own untiring energy the poor student Hahne- 
mann acquired the knowledge that fitted him to be the apostle of 
a new di.spensation in science, and through his own efforts he 
reached a pinnacle of fame whereon he stands alone for all time. 
To-day the name of Hahnemann is known wherever medicine is 
practiced in the civilized world ; but who knows where lived or 
when died, the wealthier contemporaries of Hahnemann, whose 
names were entered upon the same university lists with his? 

In 1779, Hahnemann received his degree, and now we find 
him settled in practice. Or, rather, I should say, "unsettled." 
He went to Hettstadt, in Saxony ; from thence to Dessau ; next 
to Gommern ; and then to Dresden ; back to Leipsic ; from there 
elsewhere, to innumerable places ; and again to Leipsic, where he 
remained, until professional prejudice drove him out. I do not 
think that during the lengthened period of his Wanderjahre, Hah- 
nemann could be called a popular physician. The fact was, he 
did not have the qualifications for a popular doctor. The physi- 
cian of those days was supposed to be a verj- learned man, — and 
generally was, except in medicine. His business, apparently, 
was to dress soberly, look wisely, act gravely, talk learnedly, — and 
pocket his fees with dignity. So far as treating diseases was con- 
cerned, his line of practice involved the necessity of putting 
dnigs of which he knew little into bodies of which he knew less, 



— sometimes in accordance with the fanciful theories of the day, 
sometimes in accordance with whims of his own. Why he did 
what he did, and why he left undone what he did not do, con- 
cerned him very little; and if he wanted to live a comfortable life 
he allowed them to concern him not at all. Perhaps the great- 
est weakness of so-called medical science in those days was ser- 
vile imitation. Slavish submission to recognized authorities 
characterized the average physician. Bound in the fetters of dog- 
matic assertion he stumbled through life, trying to plant his un- 
certain feet in the footsteps of those hie accepted as his masters ; 
preferring that his patient should die according to rule rather than 
be cured by unauthorized measures ; and opposing heresy more 
vigorously than he opposed disease. Travelers tell us that in the 
Fiji Islands when a chief marches forth, followed in single file by 
his soldiers, should he stumble and fall, every soldier immediate- 
ly stumbles and falls ; and if one should forget himself and stand 
upright, he is promptly clubbed to death by his more loyal fellows. 
But Hahnemann was not a Fijian. He declined to follow any lead- 
er in file and loyally stumble whenever his leader tripped. And 
though his fellows tried to apply the Fijian discipline, they could 
not club him into .submission or silence. He could not believe 
simply because .some one else believed ; he could not do simply 
becau.se .some one else had done. He wanted a reason for his 
creed, and for his work. He wanted evidence of the truth before 
he would accept anything as true. 

A century and a half before his time, a great philosopher is- 
sued to the world his " Di.scourse on the Method of I'sing the Rea- 
son, and of Seeking Scientific Truth." The central idea of his 
philo.sophy was, as a necessary accompaniment of the earnest 
search for truth, to give unqualified as.sent to no propositions but 
those the truth of which is so clear and distinct that they cannot 
be doubted. Hahnemann had adopted for his mode of practice 
in scientific pursuits, the doctrine of Des Cartes , and wanted to 
know before he would believe ; and would believe only what he 
knew. 

Hahnemann was no quack. The quack has been defined to 
be " a boastful pretender to a knowledge he does not possess." 
There are two varieties of the creature in the profession to-day, 
as in all days ; the self-conscious quack, who is a knave ; and the 
imconscious quack, who is a fool. Hahnemann had the charac- 

— H — 



teristics of neither. He boasted of no knowledge he did not 
possess ; no skill he had not acquired. He uttered his belief in 
nothing but that which he was assured he knew. He condemned 
nothing of whose falsity he had not been convinced by the 
evidence. And to all students of science I commend the spirit 
of Hahnemann ; before all I hold up the Cartesian basis of 
faith. For practical, every-day life it is sometimes necessary to 
tacitly accept certain ideas as correct; to admit the possible e-? 
istence of certain reputed facts. But give unqualified as, - '. 
nowhere, and to no thing, unless convinced by incontrovertible 
evidence of its truth ; deny the truth of no statement of theory 
or fact, unless your own researches have assured you it is false. 
Believe nothing simply because someone in authority has said 
it. The true Hahnemannian has the independent spirit of 
Hahnemann, and will not accept even the assertions of Hahne- 
mann himself, until he has found by his own investigation and 
experience that they are true. Where circumstances have not 
enabled him to decide for himself, he must remain an agnostic. 
Not a contented agnostic ; but an agnostic striving ever to raise 
himself out of the darkness of agnosticism ; content only not to 
know so long as he is unable to know. For the fashionable phy- 
sicians of his time, Hahnemann has nothing but pity and con- 
tempt ; and did not hesitate to express it. What he thought 
of their unscientific practice may be best judged from the fact 
that in one of his writings during this time he declares " the bung- 
ling of physicians " to be " the most fruitful cause of death." 
And he vigorously attacked the teaching of the time. " The 
old teachers of materia medica," he says, " with their puerilities, 
vagaries, old wives' tales and falsities, are venerated as author- 
ities, even in the most recent times — with a few exceptions — 
and neither the originators nor their weak disciples deserve to be 
spared. We must forcibly sever ourselves from these deified 
oracles if we wish to shake off the yoke of ignorance and cre- 
dulity in the most important depiartment of medical medicine."''' 
But he was no idle Diogenes, who squatted in his tub and 
railed at his contemporaries. He pursued his medical prac- 
tice conscientiously, so far as his knowledge went. But not 
slavishly. His originality showed itself in his practice ; as, 
for example, when, in opposition to the universal custom of 



«Cullen, II. p. 58. 

— 9 — 



chaining up lunatics as if they were criminals, he treated and 
cured a prominent literary man without violence or restraint ; 
declarintr that " these sufferers are always rendered worse by 
rough treatment and never better." He was thus the fitst to 
introduce rational and humane treatment of insanity. He de- 
voted special attention to hygiene. He may indeed be called the 
pioneer hygienist of modern times ; for there is more on this 
subject to be found in one of his lesser writings* than in all the 
writings of all the medical authors of his time, and for thirty 
years after. 

Nor was he an obscure physician, unknown to his contem- 
poraries. Even in his younger years of uncertainty and doubt 
his professional standing might have satisfied a more than aver- 
age man. Says a biographer — Brunnow — '• Even in the begin- 
ning of his career as a physician he succeeded in achieving many 
splendid cures by his simple method of treatment, and wherever 
he went he carried with him the reputation of a careful and 
successful practitioner." The Cierman medical journals of the 
period have frequent references to him as a capable physician of 
widely extended fame. And Hufeland, the leading physician of 
that day, and in his own country, calls him, " A man whose ser- 
vices to our art are sufficiently important . . . one of the most 
distinguished physicians of Germany . . a physician of matured 
experience and reflection." In his unsatisfied searchings after 
medical truth, he explored the realms of chemistry with results 
which gave him a reputation as one of the most accompli.shed 
scientists of his day. His works on arsenic ; on the adulteration 
of wines ; on fests for metals ; on the soluble mercury to which 
his name was subsequently given ; and the innumerable articles 
from his pen in the scientific journals of his time, stamped him 
an original and practical thinker. " A great chemist he would 
have been," said Berzelius, in after days, " if he had not been a 
great quack " — the involuntary homage of a prejudiced opponent. 
He found time for translating, with free notes, many of the lead- 
ing text-books ; and in not a few cases the translations were more 
valuable than the original works. 

Let me give you an illustration (for which I am indebted to 
Ameke's History of Homoeopathy) which may give .some idea of 
his industry, and of his learning. 

*Guide to the Treatment of I'lcers. 

— 10 — 



In the year 1784 Hahnemann translated Demachy's " Art of 
Mannfacturing Chemical Prodncts." Deniachy was one of the 
first chemists of the day. His work was considered a \ery vain- 
able one ; and was translated into several languages. It is not 
known now, of course ; because it was full of the errors of the 
times, and has long since been superseded. But it was a text- 
book a century ago. Of Hahnemann's translation, Crell's Aiina- 
len, the leading chemical journal of Germany, said : " The work 
has fallen into the hand.i of a writer who has improved and per- 
fected it. . . . Dr. Hahnemann has added a great many notes of 
his own, by which the scope of this work has been increased, and 
its errors corrected, etc. Let us see how far this eulogy is borne 
out. In addition to translating the text, Ameke says that Hah- 
nemann has added notes citing ten authors on the subject of the 
preparation of antimonials ; and quotes a number of works on 
lead, quicksilver, camphor, succinic acid and borax. Where I), 
remarks that he knows no works on the carbonification of turf, 
H. mentions six ; where I), speaks of a rare Italian book, H. gives 
further details concerning it ; where I), speaks of a French ana- 
lyst without giving his name, H. adds the nanieof the author and 
of his book ; D. mentions a celebrated German doctor, and H. is 
able to give the name, work, passage referred to ; and so in many 
other cases. In numerous places he gives more precise informa- 
tion in explanation of the text, and gives fuller details of the 
chemical reaction. Under the head of distillation he gives practi- 
cal details which improve on Demachy's methods, he describes an 
areometer of his own invention. He describes an improvement 
on Demachy's method of increasing flame where there is not a 
proper current of air. He gives directions to the mason and the 
potter for special retorts. He gives precise directions as to how 
hearths and grates should be made, and of what height they 
should be, and how the fire is to be regulated. He shows him- 
self well acquainted with the manufacture of chemicals in other 
countries ; and corrects Demachy in several particulars. He gives 
full information as to pit coal and coke in England. He intro- 
duces new tests for several metals and acids ; and so on. And 
this was his method with all his tran.slations. He touched noth- 
ing without improving it. He translated no book in which he 
did not make it perfectly plain that he knew as much about the 
su])ject as the original author ; and in many cases much more. 

— 11 — 



Let it be remembered, also, that in acquiring the knowledge nec- 
essary for this great labor Hahnemann was at a disadvantage 
compared with most of the authors he translated. They were 
generally learned professors, who had at their disposal college 
laboratories and apparatus ; sometimes they had government money 
at their disposal. Hahnemann had none of this. He was a pri- 
vate physician ; a comparatively poor man ; dependent upon his 
daily work for his daily bread ; experimenting with very imper- 
fect machinery in the intervals snatched from professional toil. 
And yet with all these disadvantages, he showed himself in every 
branch of learning and of science the equal, even the superior of 
experts and specialists. 

His labor was appreciated by his contemporaries. Read 
Ameke's History of Homoeopathy, and see the long list of quota- 
tions from the scholars and scientists of his time, who gave him 
ungrudging praise for his investigations and discoveries. Even 
Hufeland, already quoted, while opposing Homceopathy, could 
speak of Hahnemann as " one of the most distinguished, gifted 
and original of physicians," one "who has given proof in many 
of his earlier writings of a grand philosophical acumen, and of a 
rare power of observation." To those who think this man was a 
theoriser or a charlatan, let this be the answer: that no one show- 
ing the characteristics he showed in the practical nature of his 
scientific pursuits, could ever degenerate into what some of his 
enemies long afterwards charged him with being. In all things 
he showed himself, then and always, the practical man. Showed it 
even in marrying a good, sensible woman. For amid his many oc- 
cupations he found time to get married. He realized that even the 
student of science needs the support and aid of a wife. Perhaps 
he turned to matrimony as a hoped-for recompense for his disap- 
pointments in medicine. Henrietta Kuchler, the lady he married 
in 17S3, made him a good wife, in so far as she became the effi- 
cient manager of his domestic affairs ; though possibly not in all 
things a congenial spirit. She was a practical woman. I do 
not suppose she took as lively an interest in his vievvs on medi- 
cal and scientific questions as he might have desired. She was 
rather a type of the sensible housewife, who tries to make the 
best of what is, without aspiring to higher ideals. Philosophers' 
wives sometimes get a bad name because they do not enter into 
the higher aspirations of their husbands. But they do not al- 

— 1'2 — 



ways deserve the censures they receive. Perhaps they have a 
liard time of it, when their husbands persist in mounting up to 
the higher altitudes, regardless of the very important affairs of 
ever) -day life. The wife has to get the dinner ready; and 
the husband does not always provide the beef and potatoes. If 
she cannot climb up to the philosopher's attic, the husband will 
not come down to the kitchen floor, and take his share of her do- 
mestic worries. Socrates' pupils tell some hard tales about Xan- 
tippe ; but we have never heard her side of the story. If she 
plagued him by her active tongue, no doubt he more than repaid 
the debt by his philosophic indifference to sublunary affairs. 
But however it may have been in Hahnemann's case, and 
whatever his pupils may have said, he never speaks other than 
most kindly and affectionately of his wife, thus setting a good 
example to all of us who think ourselves the intellectual superiors 
of our wives, and who may be inclined to forget how much we 
are indebted to them for the domestic happiness we enjoy. It is 
very nice to have a Martha who will sit at our feet and gather the 
words of wisdom that fall from our lips ; but when dinner time 
comes we would be in a sad plight were it not for the Mary who 
has been supervising the cuisine. 

But to return from this digression : Hahnemann, collecting 
facts, and interrogating them, as a student should, at last found 
the answer. Over the darkness of medical chaos light began to 
dawn. You all know the story, how, somewhere about 1790, 
translating CuUen, he was struck with the contradictory state- 
ments made concerning quinine ; how he determined to find out 
for himself the action of the drug on the healthy organism ; how 
he proved it, and found the symptoms of intermittent fever. Did 
he at once jump to conclusions — develop a theory — proclaim a 
dogma — and then begin a search for more facts to support it ? 
That was not his method. He continued to investigate; he 
proved drugs on himself and his friends ; he accumulated facts ; 
and not until 1796, in an article in HufelancTs Journal., " On a 
New Principle for Discovering the Curative Power of Drugs," did 
he announce the law Similia Similibus Curanlur. And let it be 
noticed that in his first utterances regarding his new system^ 
Hahnemann acted according to a well-recognized principle ofmedi- 
cal ethics. He spoke first tohis own profession. His announcement 
was made in the leading medical periodical — Hufeland's Journal. 

— 13 — 



And he continued that plan until the persecution of his contem- 
poraries relieved him from all obligation. His first provings 
were published in Latin ; the first edition of the Organon was for 
physicians only. And that is a principle upon which the true 
physician will ever act. The accumulated fund of medical ex- 
perience — be it much or little — has been placed freely at our dis- 
posal. Our grateful acknowledgments are shown by contributing 
lo the general fund all that we may find. If we have discov- 
ered a new remedy, if we have invented a new appliance, if we 
have developed a new theory, to our own profession it must be 
submitted for their judgment, and if approved, for their service. 
An appeal to the laity is ever the first resort of the charlatan ; 
the last resource of the scientist. 

Hahnemann, I have said, did not rush into print the mo- 
ment he thought he saw new light in the treatment of disease. 
Six years passed before he announced his "New Principle;" 
twenty years passed before he published his more matured ideas 
in the " Organon ; " twenty-eight years before their complete de- 
velopment in the book on " Chronic Diseases." All this time he 
was studying, enquiring, experimenting, accumulating facts. 
For he was a practical man ; not a theorizer. He gathered up 
facts ; arranged them ; questioned them ; practiced medicine in 
accordance with them, and only made up theories afterwards to 
account for the facts. He found by investigation that the medi- 
cine that would promptly antagonize a disease was the medicine 
which produced upon the healthy person symptoms similar to that 
disease ; and thereupon he developed his theory of Homceopathy. 
He found that small and still smaller doses were more efficacious 
than the dose of ordinary practice ; and on this fact he developed 
his theory of potentization and dynamization. After experience 
in the treatment of diseases of long standing, he gathered up 
certain other facts ; and on these he based his theory of chronic 
diseases. Always it was the practical first — the theoretical after- 
wards. Let him speak for himself on this matter, in the preface 
to the Organon : " Facts and Experience," he says, " must be at 
the root of all revelations of truth. If we take a single step out- 
ride the region of observation, we shall find ourselves in the infi- 
nite kingdom of fantasy and arbitrary assumption — the parent of 
disastrous delusion and of absolute nothingness." To demand 
evidence in accordance with the Cartesian philosophy ; to accu- 

— 14 — 



Ululate facts, and draw conclusions from facts only, as tauglit by 
liacon ; these constituted the cardinal principles upon which 
Hahnemann attempted to base his doctrines. And thouj^h he 
may have made mistakes, as fallible men will ; though he mav 
sometimes have accepted as evidence what proved to be false ev- 
idence, and as facts what were not facts, yet the methods of his 
mental operations were based on true principles — the principles 
which must guide every student of science, if he would seek 
truth only, and would be satisfied with nothing but truth. 

The first announcement of the doctrines of Homcx'opathy 
was received with a fair measure of respectful attention bv 
the profession. While many criticised and objected, yet Hahn- 
emann's reputation as a scientist was too great for his opinion to 
be treated with contempt, or opposed with malice. But this did 
not continue. As his views developed and his convictions of 
their truth strengthened, he became impatient with the profes- 
sional conservatism which hesitated to receive the new gospel 
of medicine. He replied sharply to his critics ; gave back blow 
for blow and usually with interest added ; " carried the war into 
Africa ; " converted his defensive movements into attacks ; and 
thus each party to the contest became more embittered. Mean- 
while the druggists urged on the fight. Hahnemann had not 
only repeatedly pointed out the incompetence of this class, and 
proved their too common practice of adulteration ; he decided 
to prepare his own medicines. If his views were adopted, all 
physicians would do the same. Like the silversmiths of Ephesus, 
the druggists saw with alarm that their craft was in danger and 
stimulated the opposition by all means in their power. So the 
war went on. Not only the candid and honest criticism of the 
intelligent physicians, but the envy of the small men, the pro- 
fessional jealousy of local practitioners, the stupid malice of the 
ignorant, all fanned by the sordid virulence of the apothecaries, 
swept in a cyclone around Hahnemann and his followers. The 
chasm between the new school and the old grew wider each day, 
and when the persecution culminated by the apothecaries invok- 
ing the aid of an old law which forbade physicians making up 
their own prescriptions, and drove him out of Leipsic, the chasm 
had become unbridgeable. Had Hahnemann been more tolerant 
of the errors and absurdities of medical practice, he might not 
have met with the .same opposition from the profession. Had 

— 15 — 



he simply added on Homoeopathy to the innumerable theories 
of the day, and only claimed for it that it was a method, and not 
the method of cure, it is quite probable it might have been 
accepted to that extent. But how could he? It is the very na- 
ture of truth to have no toleration for error. There are no 
degrees of comparison for the adjective " true." A thing must 
be either true or not true. If it be true, then it cannot tolerate 
the untrue ; there can be no compromise with error. Com- 
promises in politics are said to be necessary at times ; but com- 
promises in science must be always unsatisfactory, for the 
reason that a scientific truth cannot compromise with an un- 
scientific error. Compromises of this kind have been thus 
illustrated : two men differ in regard to a mathematical propo- 
sition, one maintains that 2 and 2 make 4, the other that 2 and 
2 make 6 ; they finally compromise and agree that 2 and 2 equal 
5. Truth can only compromise with error, to speak in paradox, 
when error corrects itself in the light of truth, and becomes true. 
There can be no compromise between the New School in 
Medicine and the Old School, until the Old School adopts the 
principles and practices of the New. Hahnemann realized him- 
self that the situation called for emphatic utterances. In 1808, 
in one of his lesser writings, he says: "It must some time or 
other be boldly and publicly said, so let it now be boldly and 
frankly said before the whole world, that our art requires a 
thorough reform from top to bottom. What should not be done 
is done ; and what is essential is utterly neglected. The evil 
has come to such a pitch that the well-meant mildness of a 
John Huss is no longer of any use, but the fiery zeal of a stal- 
wart Luther is required to clear away this monstrous leaven. * * * 
O that it were mine to direct the better portion of the medical 
world who can feel for the sufferings of their fellow creatures, and 
long to know how they may relieve them, to those purer prin- 
ciples which lead directly to the desired goal." Perhaps if Hah- 
nemann had been a milder mannered man, if he had not ex- 
pressed his opinion in such strong terms, and condemned medical 
error so vigorously, if he had not been so dogmatic, intolerant, 
bigoted, if you choose so to call it, he would have had a more 
pleasant time with his contemporaries. But he could not have 
done other than he did, because he was not constructed that way. 
His moral anatomy was perfectly developed, in that he possessed 

— 16 — 



those two necessary structures, without which no man is fully 
equipped for the work of life, he had both a head and a back- 
bone. And if it had been possible for him to have acted other 
than he did, HouKjeopathy would not have attained its present 
standing. It recpiires a man with the characteristics of Hahne- 
mann to be a successful aj^itator against ignorance and evil, a 
man of strong feelings, unshaken convictions, determined will, 
and emphatic utterance. A reformer cannot be a limber-backed, 
thin-muscled, tender-voiced, kid-gloved man. Remember this, 
you who may be inclined to criticise Hahnemann, or even our 
own ])ioneers on this continent, because of the roughness, bitter- 
ness, arrogance even, which may have characterized him and 
them. If wc have not to suffer the persecution our medical 
fathers suffered, if we have not to contend with the invincible 
ignorance and malicious bigotry that opposed them, it is because 
their emi)hatic intolerance of error, their uncompromising support 
of truth, made the reforms they advocated possible, and smoothed 
the pathway for our feet. And yet with all his apparent arro- 
gance, Hahnemann was possessed of that true spirit of humility 
which controls everv earnest student. " No encomiums of me," 
he wrote to his friend Stapf, " I feel myself to be nothing more 
than a plain, straight-forward man, who merely tries to do his 
duty." And, on his death-bed, to the s\mpathizing wife, who 
could not understand why Divine Providence should peimit one 
who had relieved so much suffering to be himself so great a suf- 
ferer, he could sa\ : " Why should I expect exemption from suf- 
fering ? Every one works according to the gifts and powers he 
has received from Providence, and more or less are words used 
only at the judgment seat of man. Providence owes me nothing; 
I owe it much, yes, everything." Nor was there in him any 
feeling of personal animosity towards those whose practices he 
condemned. The men he rather pitied, when he could not 
respect, their deeds only he attacked. To a young physician 
(Schreter, ofLemberg, in 1829) who had been inveighing warmly 
against his medical opponents, he wrote advising him to moderate 
his language. " No good result," he wrote, " will come of it. 
You put yourself out of temper by it — a most undesirable state 
of mind. Rather compassionate the poor, blind, infatuated crea- 
tures ; it is mortification enough for them to be unable t 
accomplish anything valuable. Just leave them alone and go 

— ]7 — 



along in the path of rectitude. Be honorable in your practice 
without allowing yourself to be led astray. You will then have 
the blessing of a good conscience, and can live your own life 
cheerfully and happily in privacy." 

But he could afford to pos.sess his soul in peace, for he had 
unbounded confidence in the success of his doctrine. He knew 
it was true, and he knew that the truth must and would 
prevail. Writing to Stapf in 1815 he said: "Our art requires 
no political lever, no worldly decorations in order to become 
something. It grows gradually, at first unrecognized, surrounded 
as it is by all manner of weeds which luxuriate around it, from an 
insignifican*^ acorn to a sapling; soon its summit will overreach 
the rank weeds. Patience ! It is striking deep its roots into the 
earth ; it is increasing its strength imperceptibly but all the more 
surely, and will in its own time grow into an oak of God which, 
no longer to be shaken by storms, spreads out its branches into 
all regions, that suffering humanity may be healed under its 
beneficent shade," 

Driven out of Leipsic by the apothecaries, Hahnemann ac- 
cepted a position as hofrath and physician to his old friend and 
client, the Duke of Anhalt-Coethen. And in his new home at 
Coethen, from 182 1 to 1835, he lived happily, pursuing his stud- 
ies as indefatigably as ever, but surrounded by an able and de- 
voted band of assistants, including members of his own family. 
Here he had the respect and love of court and peopte ; here he 
suffered the saddest bereavement that can come to any man — the 
death on the 30th of March, 1831, of the woman who had been 
his partner in adversity and in prosperity for 46 years, and here 
he comforted himself in his bereavement, as some men will and 
can, by a second marriage. Here in Coethen he was the popu- 
lar as well as the successful physician. But he did not on that 
account adopt a slovenly and careless method of work. His 
treatment of every case submitted to him was the typical Homoe- 
opathic treatment. Cautiously he investigated the condition of 
his patient and recorded the symptoms. Between 30 and 40 
folio volumes in his own handwriting, it is said, contained the 
records of his practice. An allopathic sneak of his time relates 
with great glee how he called on Hahnemann, pretending to be 
ill, and how he was carefully examined fand questioned an d all 
the supposed symptoms noted — the process lasting about an hour 

— 18 — 



— until the master, evidently suspecting a fraud from internal 
evidence, put a stop to the farce by demanding a large fee, where- 
upon the pse/tdo-pauent sneaked out. But this thorough exami- 
nation was always his method. He was not content with sub- 
jective symptoms alone, though he estimated them highly and 
gave them a significance they never had before; but he wanted 
all the symptoms — internal as well as external — objective as well 
as subjective. He did not despise pathology — which is but 
symptomatology of abnormal structure and function — he wanted 
the "totality of the symptoms." And only a skilled pathologist 
could see clearly the symptoms inside as well as those outside. He 
did not neglect the cause of the disease. "Never mind the cause," 
say some, "if you only see the symptoms clearly." Not so 
thought Hahnemann. These are his words in the Organon : 
"The physician must avail himself of all the particulars he can 
laarn, both respecting the probable origin of the acute malady 
and the most significant points in the history of the chronic dis- 
eases, to aid him in the discovery of their fundamental cause." 
(Sec. 5.) And again in his work on Chronic Diseases (Hempel's 
edition, 1845, vol. i, p. 52): "The first duty of the physician 
who apprecia "s the dignity of his character and the value of hu- 
man life is to inquire into the whole condition of the patient, the 
cause of the disease, etc." 

Thus, having ascertained the cause of the disease, inquired 
into the condition of the patient and noted the totality of the 
symptoms, he selected as his remedy that article in the materia 
medica whose recorded action on the healthy subject most clearly 
pictured the diseased condition he was about to treat. And that 
is the method of all true Homceopathists — of all true Hahne- 
mannians — to-day. 

Was he always successful? it may be asked. Of course not. 
His success was astonishing; but he had his failures like all 
other physicians. How could it be otherwise? Admitting that 
HonuEopathy, correctly applied, will cure every diseased state, 
the fact remains that in our day, and much more in his, the 
Homceopathic Materia Medica is incomplete. There are thou- 
sands of medicinal substances in nature, each one homoeopathic to 
some congeries of symptoms, which have never been proven. 
And Hahnemann had even less material to work with than we 
have. vSo he had his failures ; and his enemies took good care to 

— 19 — 



publisli them. And he made his mistakes, as all fallible men 
will. Take a notable example : In i.Soo he thought he di.scov- 
ered, in the decomposition of borax, a new element, to which he 
gave the name of alkali-pneum. He was mistaken ; it was only 
borax after all. Hut as soon as his mistake was pointed ont by 
other chemists and confirmed by himself he pnblished a long ex- 
planatory article, freely admitting his error ; and, having sold 
some of his supposed alkali, he caused the money to be refunded. 
Chemists more noted than Hahnemann were making similar 
mistakes in tho.se early days of the science ; but Hahnemann 
stands almost alone in this — that he was always ready to confess 
his mistakes. Truth was his goal. It mattered not to him if 
his own reputation suffered so the goal was reached. 

But his mistakes and failures were trifling as the spots which 
the keen eye detects on the surface of the sun but which cannot 
dim its brightness. 

What was the personal appearance of Hahnemann? it may 
be asked. Let Brunnow,''' who was admitted to intimate social 
relations with his family, describe him in his 62nd year. " vSil- 
very locks surrounded his lofty, thoughtful brow, beneath which 
his intelligent eyes flashed forth with piercing fire. His whole 
face had a calmy inquiring, grand expression ; only at times did 
the expression of a delicate humor replace that of deep earnestness 
which indicated that he had gone through many troubles and strug- 
gles. His bearing was upright, his gait firm, his movements alert, 
like tho.se of a man of thirty. When he went out he dressed quite 
simply, in a dark-colored surtout, and breeches and boots. In his 
own room, however, he liked to wear a brightly-flowered dres.sing 
gown, yellow slippers and black velvet cap. His long pipe was 
seldom out of his hand, and this indulgence in tobacco was the 
only relaxation from his abstemious mode of life. His drink was 
water, milk, and white beer; his food extremely frugal. His 
whole domestic arrangements were as simple as his food and his 
dress. * * '•' When the day's work was done, Hahnemann 
w^s accustomed to recruit himself from the hours of eight to ten 
by conversation in a familiar circle of friends. All his friends and 
pupils had free access to him, and were happy and cheerful while 
smoking and drinking white beer. In the middle of the listening 

*Ein Blick auf Hahnemann, Leipsic, 1844 

— 20 — 



circle, in his comfortable arm-chair, with his lon^ pipe in his 
hand, sat the venerable Kscnlapins, and alternately related amns- 
ing and serious stories from his stormy life, while puffing clouds 
of smoke from his pipe." Seminary Director Albrecht, who en- 
joyed familiar intercourse with him from 1S21 to 1H35, says: 
" Hahnemann was always happiest in his family circle, and dis- 
played here as nowhere else a most amiable disposition to mirth 
and cheerfulness. He jested with his children in the intervals 
which he could devote to them ; sang cradle songs to the little 
ones ; composed little verses for them ; and used every opportu- 
nity to instruct them. Although at first he had but little, he spent 
as much as he could possibly save on the education and culture 
of his children. He wished them to learn all that was worth 
learning.""'- Later in life, (iriesslich, after visiting him at 
Coethen, gave this description : " Hahnemann, at the age of 
seventy-seven, showed in every action all the fire of a young man. 
No trace of old age could be detected in his physical appearance, 
except the white locks surrounding his temples, and the bald 
crown, which is covered with a velvet cap. Small and sturdy in 
form, Hahnemann is lively and brisk. Every movement is full 
of life. His eyes reveal his inquiring spirit. They flash with 
the fire of youth. His features are sharp and animated. As old 
age seems to have left few traces on his body, so it is with his 
mind. His language is fiery, fluent, often becomes vehement, as 
a stream of lava, against his enemies and opponents, not of 
himself personally (for that he never alluded to) but of the great 
truths to the testing of which he had summoned his colleagues 
for many decades. His memory seems to be unaffected. After 
long interludes and side conversation, he continues where he 
left off". When he becomes heated in conversation, which often 
happens, whether about friend or foe, or on scientific subjects, his 
words flow forth uninterruptedly, his whole manner becomes 
extremely animated, and an expression appears on his counte- 
nance which his visitor ((irie.sslich) admired in silence. Perspira- 
tion covers his lofty brow ; his cap is removed, even his long 
pipe, his trusty compa'.ion, goes out, and must be re-lighted by 
the taper which is at hand, and kept burning all day. But the 
white beer must not be forgotten. The venerable old man had 

*Hahneinann's Lebeii, Leipsic, 2nd edit., 1875. 

— 21 — 



so accustomed himself to this sweet drink that it always stood 
in a large covered glass on his table. At his meals, too, he takes 
this drink. He does not drink wine. His mode of life is very sim- 
ple, abstemious and patriarchal."* 

Hahnemann's hand-writing was small, neat and precise. 
He was careful in composition, making many corrections until 
the form of expression suited him. His eyesight continued good 
to old age, so that he did not require the aid of spectacles. 
His physical condition was excellent. His life was one of work, 
not of dissipation ; and his body had been well cared for. This 
well accounts for his capacity for labor, and explains the 
amount of work he could perform, often spending the hours of 
the night as well as the day in writing and in study. A list 
of his principal works, including the chief articles written for 
the journals and the large pamphlets, number 1 14 during the years 
1777 to 1832. His correspondence during this time was also very 
extensive; and if his letters were all preserved, they would fill sev- 
eral volumes. The extent to which Hahnemann punsued his studies 
was remarkable and was possible only for one who possessed in the 
highest degree a sound mind in a sound body. Albrecht (loc. cit.) 
says : *' His amount of knowledge was astonishing. He was at 
home in all the sciences, even in those which had no connection with 
medicine. Information could be obtained from him about them 
all. For even if he had not particularly pursued any branch of 
science, he was sure to have read a great deal about it. ' A 
really educated man,' he used often to say, 'must be well up in 
all subjects.' Thus he was well acquainted with astronomy. 
He was a good meteorologist. He was not less thoroughly ac- 
quainted witii geography. He had paid special attention to 
magnetism and mesmerism, and made use of them in certain 
cases of disease with favorable results. -^ '~ His translations 
showed that he was proficient in modern languages ; while at the 
same time he was a most thorough classical scholar." What a les- 
.son this teaches to physicians of our own day ! What an advocate 
of higher education Hahnemann would have been had he lived 
with us ! What a contempt he would have expressed for the so- 
called ''doctor" whose library consists of a solitary book on 
practice ; perhaps one on symptomatology, if the owner is a 



^Skizzen, etc., Karlsruhe, 1830. 

— 22 — 



Homoeopath ; who not only thinks it unnecessary for the phy 
sician to be a cultured man in the broadest sense, but who has 
no use even for the sciences allied to medicine. Do you want 
to be a true Hahnemannian ? It is not enough to be well ac- 
quainted with the materia medica. You are unworthy to bear 
the name of Hahnemann if you do not, like him, strive to be "well 
up in all subjects." 

Hahnemann astonished his friends when at the age of eighty 
he took for his second wife an intelligent, accomplished and cul- 
tured French lady of 34 years — Mme. Melanied'Hervilly Gohier. 
But Hahnemann at eighty was younger than some of us at fifty ; 
and was doubtless well-fitted for the companionship of the lady 
v7ho charmed him in his later years. The arrangement, at all 
events, seems to have been perfectly satisfactory to both parties. 
His wife persuaded him to remove to Paris, where a larger field 
was opened up for his labors ; and from that city, five years 
after his marriage, he writes to his friend. Dr. Schreter, of Lem- 
berg : " I cannot remember in my life having ever felt better 
and happier than here in Paris, where I am enjoying the affec- 
tionate intercourse of my dear Melanie, who cares for nothing in 
the world more than for me. I find, too, that my medical labors 
begin to excite more than attention — respect — for our divine 
healing art in this great metropolis." An American lady,* who 
visited him in Paris, in 1839, four years after he had removed 
to that city, wrote an account of her interview which was pub- 
lished subsequently by the pioneer homceopathic publisher of 
this country, Wm. Radde. She was evidently a most enthusi- 
astic admirer of Hahnemann and his wife, and was possibly 
inclined to exaggerate. She speaks of him as a sort of Monte 
Christo, living in a large palace, most magnificently furnished, 
attended by a princely retinue, and receiving at his daily levee 
a host of patients so great in number that one wonders how 
with his habits of patient investigation into his casts he could 
ever have prescribed for one-fourth of them. But her descrip- 
tion of his personal appearance corresponds with that of Brun- 
now and of Griesselich. She found him sitting at his table, 
which was covered with books ; his wife by his side act- 
ing as his secretary ; questioning the patient land recording 
the symptoms. " His slender and diminutive form," we are 

*Helen Berkeley. 

— 23 — 



told "was enveloped in a flowered dressing-gown of rich mate- 
rials, and too comfortable in appearance to be of other than 
Parisian make. The crown of his large, beantifnlly proportioned 
head was covered by a skull-cap of black v^elvet. From beneath 
it strayed a few thin, snowy locks, which clustered about his 
noble forehead, and spoke of the advanced age which the linger- 
ing freshness of his florid complexion seemed to deny. His eyes 
were dark, deep set, glittering, and full of animation. As he 
greeted me, he removed from his mouth a long painted pipe, 
the bowl of which nearly reached to his knees. But after the 
first salutation it was instantly resumed, as I was apprized by 
the volumes of blue smoke which began to curl about his head, 
as though to veil it from my injudicious scrutiny." Here, then, 
in Paris, he lived for some eight years after his marriage ; busy 
in the practice of his profession ; happy in his domestic relations ; 
and here, at last, his labors ceased, and he entered into de- 
served rest. 

Let Jahr tell the story of Hahnemann's departure. Writing 
on the 4th of June, 1843, to the Allgemeine Homceopathische 
Zeitung, (Vol. 24, No. 17) he says: "About the 15th of April be 
was taken ill with the malady which usually attacked him iti the 
Spring — a bronchial catarrh — and it took such hold of him that 
his wife admitted no one. The report was spread several times 
that he was dead ; this, however, was contradicted. I had been 
intending to call myself, when I received a note from Mme. 
Hahnemann begging me to come that same day. I went at once, 
and was admitted to Hahnemann's bed-room. Here — think of 
the sight — instead of seeing Hahnemann — the dear, friendly old 
man — smile his greeting, I found his wife stretched in tears on 
the bed, and him lying cold and stiff by her side, having passed 
five hours before into that life where there is no strife, no sick- 
ness, and no death. Yes, dear friends, our venerable Father 
Hahnemann has finished his course. A chest affection has, after 
, six weeks' illness, liberated his spirit from its weary frame. His 
mental powers remained unimpaired up to the last moment, and 
although his voice became more and more unintelligible, yet his 
broken words testified to the continued clearness of his mind 
and to the calm with which he anticipated his approaching end. 
* * * Profound grief for this great loss is felt here by all 
his followers. All shed tears of gratitude and affection for him. 

— 24 — 



But the loss of those who have had the happiness of enjoying 
the friendship of this great man can only be estimated by those 
who have known him in his domestic circle, and especially dur- 
ing his last years. He, himself, when not persecuted by others, 
was not only a good^ but a simple-hearted and benevolent man, 
who was never happier than when among friends to whom he 
could unreservedly open his heart. Well, he has nobly fought 
through and gloriously completed his difficult and often painful 
course. Sit ei terra levis." 

And so, at the advanced age of eighty-eight, in the fullness 
of years, whose end crowned his life-work, Hahnemann died. 
Died, did I say ? No ; not that. Some men never die. Though 
the atoms that have built up the body are resolved into element- 
al forms, that man lives on in noble deeds, in winged words, in 
thoughts that never die. And Hahnemann lives to-day, and 
will live through all time, in the doctrines he taught, in the 
work he performed, in the influence he exerted on medical 
science. 

For the first time in the world's history we see the practice 
of medicine resting on a scientific basis ; and that was Hahn- 
emann's work. While faint and uncertain glimpses of the prin- 
ciples he enunciated had been caught at times, "as through a 
glass darkly," by some of his predecessors, it was left for h'm to 
see the truth in all its brightness ; to comprehend it in all its 
details; to promulgate it, to impress it on aM future gener- 
ations. 

The new Organon of rational medicine embraces these ele- 
ments : The recognition of disease by the totality of its symp- 
toms ; the individualization of diseased subjects ; the proving 
of medicines upon persons in health ; the administration of a 
simple prescription in the smallest effective dose, in accordance 
with an unvarying rule — the law of similarity. This was the 
work of a creative genius, operating on a world of chaos — formless 
and void, vitalizing medical science, and bringing it into system- 
atic and definite shape. This was Hahnemann's creative work — 
a work in which he stood and stands alone. 

Macaulay, writing of Lord Bacon, likens him to Moses on Mount 
Pisgah. '* There we see the great lawgiver looking around from 
his lone elevation on an infinite expanse. Behind him a wilder- 
ness of dreary sands and bitter waters, in which successive gen- 

— 26 — 



eratioiis have sojourned, always moving yet never advancing ; 
reaping no harvest and building no abiding city ; before him a 
goodly land, a land of promise, i land flowing with milk and 
honey. While the multitude below saw only the flat sterile des- 
ert in which they had so long wandered, bounded on every side 
by a near horizon, or diversified only by some deceitful mirage, he 
was gazing from a far higher stand on a far lovelier land, — follow- 
ing with his eye the long course of fertilizing nvers, through 
ample pastures, and under the bridges of great capitals ; measur- 
ing the distances of marts and havens, and portioning out all 
those wealthy regions from Dan to Bathsheba." 

Such words might well be applied to Hahnemann, as we see 
him in his Organon, surveying the barren waste behind, looking 
forward to the fruitful plain before. But if he were the keen-eyed 
law-giver Moses on the mountain top, equally true is it that he 
was the militant Joshua, leading on to the coveted land he had 
viewed from Pisgah's height ; crossing with fearless tread the 
swift rolling Jordan that opposed its floods in vain ; pushing on 
through hostile hordes ; battling with the hosts of stolid igno- 
rance and stubborn prejudice and dogmatic conservatism. Forty- 
seven years of such warfare had he ; begun single-handed, with 
no one on his side but the Divine Truth itself; and before that 
warfare ended and his life-work closed in peace, he had gained 
victories worthy of the cause for which he fought. He saw his 
doctrines .spread over Europe, — and taking root beyond the sea, 
in this western continent. More than 500 followers in his own 
profession carried the banner of Homttopathy ; a dozen period- 
icals advocated the law of similia ; while the leader himself had 
obtained honor and fame and wealth enough to satisfy a more 
ambitious man than he. 

Since his time, what are the improvements that have been 
made in medicine ? None. In surgery there have been great 
advances ; in chemistry and biology there have been great discov- 
eries ; in the allied sciences there have been marked develop- 
ments. But in medical practice in its stricter sense — in the 
treatment of diseased conditions by specific remedies — how barren 
of results have been all later investigations ! What has the Old 
School of medicine accomplished ? The chemical laboratory 
has added a few trifles to its materia medica ; and that is all of 
value for which it claims credit. 

-26 — 



But if it has shown little originality, it has exhibited fair 
powers of imitation. Many of the remedies introduced and prov- 
en by Hahnemann have been appropriated, and without acknowl- 
edgment. The maximum dose has been supplanted by a dose 
approximating the minimum. The barbarities of the lancet and 
kindred abominations which Hahnemann exercised have disap- 
peared, or only flit across the scene, ghosts of a dead medical 
past. The hygienic regimen that Hahnemann practiced, the 
sanitary rules that he taught, have become an important element 
in Old School therapeutics ; have, in fact, become the chief med- 
ical paraphernalia of many of the best of Old School physicians, 
who despair of ciiring disease, and hope only to prevent it. All 
the improvements in the practice of the Old School to-day are 
either directly or indirectly the offspring of Homceopathy, and 
can be traced back to the great apostle of medical reform — Sam- 
uel Hahnemann. Theories more or less fanciful have been 
evolved ; and facts have been more or less distorted to uphold the 
theories. Some are as fallacious as the mythical elixir z'itac ex- 
pressed by Brown-Sequard from the Agni Sitccm; some may have 
a more plausible origin in the microscopic field investigated by 
Pasteur and Koch ; but none have developed therapeutic meas- 
ures to compare with the law of siuiilia. Nor can they, if the 
law of similia be, as we believe, the law of specific therapeutics. 
They are but ignis faiui in the swamp of Old School medicine — 
retreating the further into the dim distance the more they are 
pursued. 

I hold up for you the personality of Hahnemann as the bright 
example for the imitation of all who would be true physicians. 
Some men boast of being Hahnemannians. It is a most laudable 
desire to seek ever to be worthy to bear the name of the great 
master in medicine. How may that be best accomplished? How 
can we deserve the name of Hahnemannians? It is not by sim- 
ply attempting to follow him in all the little details of medical 
practice — details which he varied as circumstances required. 
That would be no more essential than to speak his language ; to 
wear garments of the fashion he wore ; to smoke his pipe; or to 
make his white beer our daily beverage. It is not necessary to 
believe implicitly everything he believed ; to accept his ipse dixit, 
for no other reason than because the master has spoken. The 
true Hahnemannian is one who, after due study and ample expe- 

— 27 — 



rience, accepts that great principle in medicine, the law of simiUa, 
with its logical corollaries — the simple prescription and the mini- 
mum dose. Accepting these as true, he must possess also the 
spirit of independence which Hahnemann possessed — the spirit 
which will permit the adoption of no theory simply because some 
great man announced it; which will accept as true only those things 
which personal experience and investigation have proved to be 
true. He must have the studious disposition of Hahnemann, that 
will consider every day wasted on which nothing has been learned. 
He must have the courage of Hahnemann, to think the truth, 
and speak the truth, and do the right, though earth and hell oppo.se. 
He must keep ever before him the one practical aim which filled 
the field of Hahnemann's mental vision through all his life, and 
which is enunciated in the opening sentence of the Orgauon : 
"The first and sole duty of the physician is to heal the sick." To 
be honest in purpose, constant in study, independent in thought, 
persistent in effort, brave in adversity, humble in prosperity ; 
these things characterized Hahnemann, and must characterize 
all who would call themselves by his name. To know — so far 
as he can know — the science which he strives to make his own ; 
but still more to know himself — to know his own power and his 
own weakness ; to have the courage of his convictions ; to con- 
trol himself so that he may utilize all his talents to the best ad- 
vantage in the pursuit of truth — these are always the salient 
features of a true Hahnemannian. And these make the success- 
ful man ; for the mental processes of such an one lead him ever 
to the attainment of that which ends in success. 

" Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control. 
These three alone lead life to sovereign power. 
Yet not for power — power of herself 
Would come uncalled for — but to live by law, 
Acting the law we live by without fear ; 
And because right is right to follow right. 
Were wisdom in the scorn of consequence." 



— 28 — 



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